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Baseball All Year Round!

Northeast U.S. may feel like South if climate continues changing, says study The days of mild summers in the Northeastern U.S. may be numbered, says a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. If global greenhouse-gas emissions were reduced by 3 percent each year, the average temperature in the nine Northeast states would still likely rise between 3.5 and 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century; but if emissions and resultant climate change are left unchecked, the average temp could rise by up to 12.5 degrees, causing the region's weather to begin to resemble the South's, with longer, …

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Can industrial agriculture withstand climate change?

If the fossil fuels don't getcha, the genetics will. Photo: iStockphoto In the United States, the clearest signs of climate change so far have been stern words from Al Gore and a few hotter-than-normal summers. In Greenland, by contrast, global warming has sparked a revolution -- at least, when it comes to agriculture. A recent article in the German magazine Der Spiegel explores the dramatic new opportunities arising for the island's farmers. The article opens with a man tending his potato patch amid the roar of "an iceberg breaking apart, with pieces of it tumbling into the foaming sea." It's …

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Nothing to Sea Here, Folks

Arctic sea ice melts to second-lowest monthly minimum on record Last month, sea ice in the Arctic melted to the second-lowest monthly minimum it has reached in 29 years of satellite measurements. The ice reached its record monthly minimum in September 2005; scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center say the monthly record likely would have been set in September of this year if August hadn't suddenly turned cool and stormy. NSIDC scientist Julienne Stroeve predicts, "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean will have no ice in September by the year 2060" -- about a decade earlier than …

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A dispatch from a forward-looking climate conference in Germany

Michael Levitin is a freelance writer based in Germany. Last week, he attended KyotoPlus: Escaping the Climate Trap, an international conference held in Berlin. Monday, 2 Oct 2006 Berlin, Germany Imagine a trans-European "super grid" of renewable energy connecting solar parks in northern Africa to wind farms in Scandinavia. Consider the millions in savings -- in miles, in dollars, in tons of CO2 injected into the atmosphere -- if once a week, one out of every 10 Americans telecommuted to work using state-of-the-art conference screens at home. Or how about picturing the alternative: a world in which our continued burning …

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Plain speaking from an expert

To a layperson, the world of climatology can be an intimidatingly foreign land. Denizens of this world -- scientists -- speak a daunting, often-impenetrable blend of acronyms (AGW, IPCC, WPAC, ENSO), Latinisms (anomalies, coterminous, precipitation deficits), and math (confidence limits, regression-based, boundary knots). Besides the sheer complexity of global climate systems, the dreariness of this jargon may be one of the big reasons the general public has been slow to awaken to the seriousness of the threat of global warming. In fact, a conference on climate change organized by Yale last year called for "training scientists to speak in language …

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Touched by an Angela

German Chancellor will focus on climate as she leads G8 and E.U. German Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to make climate change top priority when her country takes the reins of both the European Union and the G8 at the beginning of next year. Enviros are likely to welcome the leadership of Merkel, a former environment minister, after Russia downplayed global warming during its 2006 G8 presidency. For one thing, Merkel is unafraid to call out U.S. slackerness; her goal, she says, is to "convert the big emitters" of carbon dioxide. (Hey, President Bush has been converted once -- why not …

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Really

Good for Angela Merkel: German Chancellor Angela Merkel named confronting climate change as her country's top priority as leader of the Group of Eight (G8) nations next year and will also use Germany's weight as president of the EU to push for the reduction of energy use at the same time. Somebody give that lady a backrub!

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Bluster’s Last Stand

DOD declares wind turbines can interfere with radar, but says some can proceed The Defense Department has finally completed a long-awaited study on how wind farms impact military radar, which clears the way for some stalled wind projects to continue. At least a dozen projects in Illinois, North Dakota, and Wisconsin had been put on hold pending the DOD study. In its report, submitted this week to the Senate and House Armed Services committees, the DOD declared that turbines in radar line of sight can interfere with detecting and tracking aerial objects, but the Pentagon also showed willingness to allow …

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It’s Always Greener on the Other Side of the Pond

Britain's Conservatives challenge Labor for mantle of greenest party Americans, prepare to be jealous, says Peter Madden, head of Britain's Forum for the Future. In the U.K., the two main political parties are competing to be seen as the greenest -- and the Conservatives are currently in the lead. That's largely due to Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who not only champions tough steps to tackle climate change, but walks the green talk in his own life, from growing organic carrots to affixing a wind turbine to his house (and he cuddles puppies too). Madden surveys Britain's changing political climate.

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Quick, Hide the Mung Beans

Unexpected levels of human-caused methane could mean trouble A rise in human-caused methane emissions -- a phrase that certainly does not make us giggle -- has been masked by a decline in natural methane releases, says a new report in Nature. Atmospheric concentrations of methane, less abundant than carbon dioxide but 20 times greenhouse-gassier, have remained relatively stable since 1999. But data from tracking stations around the world show that the human-caused variety, which decreased during the 1990s (likely thanks to the fall of the Soviet Union), has increased since 1999 (likely thanks to the boom in Asia). The uptick …

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